Viewpoint: Is kidnapping easy money?

Published on BBCnews /Africa, by Sola Odunfa, 20 July 2010.

In our series of viewpoints from African journalists, Sola Odunfa wonders why everyone in Nigeria doesn’t turn to kidnapping as crime has become a very lucrative business.

Last night, sleep took a long time coming.

My thoughts merely wandered to the condition of four of my colleagues who were spending their fifth night in the custody of kidnappers somewhere in south-eastern Nigeria, and it occurred to me that I could also be victim. 

  • What would be my mental and physical condition if I was kidnapped by criminals for ransom?
  • Yes, it could be me!
  • No, couldn’t be!
  • But, yes it could! … //

… The show horse:

The excruciating agony of the victims and their relatives. The stone heart of the society. The total irresponsibility of the government. The failed state. The state of mind of us for whom the kidnapper or armed robber will come tomorrow.

  • Does anyone think or care about us?
  • Is there any honest person in any level of government in Nigeria?
  • I cannot answer that.
  • All I know is that when politicians go into government they look like the he-goat which has just finished a cross-country trek to the city market, but when they reach mid-term they are like the show horse in the emir’s palace.
  • So who is to discourage the other from going into crime?
  • After all the country does not earn its oil money – nature puts the oil where it is, the white man finds and brings it out, and Nigeria gets paid just for stretching out its hands.

All four journalists and their driver were released unharmed on Sunday. Police say no ransom was paid. (full text).

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